When the Pittsburgh Steelers and Washington Football Team squared off in Week 13 at Heinz Field, there was a lot on the line for both teams. The Steelers would clinch a playoff spot with a win, and Washington would need a victory to keep pace with the surging New York Giants in the NFC East.
Would the Steelers stay perfect, and atop the AFC? Or would Washington pull off the upset and turn their two-game winning streak into three?
With Washington winning the opening coin toss and deferring their possession to the second half, it was Ben Roethlisberger and company on the field to start the game. After a three and out Jordan Berry was called on for early duty in the football game.
Washington’s first possession started with a pass for a first down, but the drive didn’t go any further and Washington punted the ball right back give Roethlisberger his second possession of the game.
The Steelers’ second possession was the same as their first, and a three and out gave Alex Smith his next chance to put the first points on the board. What looked like a defensive stop turned into a questionable roughing the punter call which extended the Washington drive. However, the Pittsburgh defense stood tall and was able to get the ball back to their offense without surrendering points.
While the Steelers’ offense did get their first first down of the game, the drive stalled and gave the ball back to Washington with 2:49 left in the first quarter. The drive was brief, and the Steelers best offensive possession waited until the second quarter, when Roethlisberger and company started to finally get into a groove as an offense. Ben Roethlisberger his Eric Ebron for consecutive conversions, and a key throw and catch by Chase Claypool gave the Steelers a first and goal situation.
The next play Roethlisberger threw a bullet to Diontae Johnson for the first score of the game.
Newly signed kicker, Matthew Wright, nailed the extra point, making the score 7-0 with 10:33 left in the second quarter.
Washington’s next drive saw them facing a 4th and 1 on their side of the 50 yard line, and a great play by Mike Hilton equated in a turnover on downs. Roethlisberger took little time getting the ball back into the red-zone, but it was there where the offense would struggle. Facing a first and goal situation, and even after a personal foul gave the Steelers a new set of downs, the team failed to convert on four straight tries.
Alex Smith and the Washington offense took over at the one foot line, but they wouldn’t come close to getting a first down before having to punt the ball away.
Alex Smith and the Washington offense took over at the one foot line, but they wouldn’t come close to getting a first down before having to punt the ball away. On the next play from scrimmage, Roethlisberger threw a comeback route to James Washington, who made a defender miss and was off to the races for the touchdown.
Matthew Writer was good, again, making the score 14-0 with 3:54 left in the first half.
The ensuing Washington drive moved into Pittsburgh territory, but on a 3rd and 7 a deep pass down the right sideline fell incomplete, giving the ball back to Roethlisberger and company. With 1:54 left on the clock, the Steelers couldn’t even muster a first down and when they gave Washington a chance to put points on the scoreboard. Getting into field goal range, a botched clock situation gave Washington a chance to make a field goal and make the score 14-3 at halftime.
Washington started the second half with the football and despite back-to-back penalties on the opening drive a huge 3rd down conversion moved the ball into Pittsburgh territory. Another big completion put the Washington Football Team in a goal line situation. After being stopped on 4th down a holding call on T.J. Watt gave them new life and the next play was a one yard plunge into the end zone by Peyton Barber with 8:16 left in the third quarter.
The Steelers’ offense wasn’t able to add to their total with their first possession of the third quarter, but Alex Smith was unable to to do anything with their next drive as well. It was the next Steelers drive which had them on the move. After a big third down conversion to Dionate Johnson and a defensive pass interference call against Chase Claypool, the Steelers were on the cusp of the red-zone. To start the fourth quarter it was Matthew Wright was called on to make a 37-yard field goal, and he was good giving the Steelers a 17-10 lead.
After both teams had three and out possessions, Washington drew next blood when Alex Smith took his offense down the field with ease and connected with Logan Thomas for the touchdown. The point-after was good, making the score 17-17 with 9:09 left in regulation.
Ben Roethlisberger put together and impressive drive to get the Steelers into Washington territory, but when facing a fourth and one just outside of field goal range, the pass intended for Anthony McFarland fell incomplete giving the ball back to Washington.
Just over 5 minutes remained in regulation, and Alex Smith was in a groove. On 3rd and 4 Smith connected with Cam Sims for a 29 yard gain, getting Washington near field goal range. However, on 3rd and 10, with 2:11 left Smith’s pass was incomplete and Dustin Hopkins 45-yard kick was good, making the score 20-17 with 2:04 left in regulation.
Looking for some late game magic, Ben Roethlisberger’s first play from scrimmage was yet another tipped pass by Montez Sweat which was intercepted by former Steeler Jon Bostic.
After three straight running plays, Ron Rivera elected to kick the field goal. Hopkins’ kick was good, making the score 23-17, and leaving just 17 seconds left in the 4th quarter. That would be the final score.
This was the first loss of the season for the Steelers, and now they have to turn their attention to the Buffalo Bills in Week 14 on Sunday Night Football. Be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the black and gold as they prepare for the Bills next Sunday night.